Marbella suffered their second defeat in two games, this time to league leaders Lorca at the Estadio Municipal on Sunday.
The game was played at a high intensity and both teams showed a lot of fight from start to finish, but it was the tactical astuteness of the Murcia side that saw them claim all three points.
Their cause however was aided by an extremely indisciplined performance from the hosts, who had both manager Medhi Nafti and defender Tiri sent off.
The first half was an extremely even contest with both sides pushing to take the lead. It was Marbella goalkeeper Ángel Bernabé who was forced into action first, getting a firm hand to splendidly save Molo's header from point-blank range. However, the crossbar came to the keeper's rescue some minutes later when another header, this time from Borja García, had Bernabé beaten.
Marbella would also have two chances in a half, but neither Okoye nor Kike Márquez's free-kick really threatened Lorca goalkeeper Dorronsoro's goal. As the half wore on, tactical fouls became more and more frequent, with neither side wanting to lose the midfield battle.
The numerous fouls eventually provoked a severe response from referee López Puerta, who brandished no fewer than seven yellow cards to Marbella in the second half, before sending manager Nafti to the stands in the 32nd minute for his protests regarding the serious punishments handed out to his team.
There was a feeling that the game would not end 11 versus 11 at full time, and that sentiment was confirmed in the 57th minute when Tiri was shown a second yellow card for a foul which provoked very few complaints from the visiting side.
Lorca smelt blood with Marbella now down to ten men, and the visitors' threat on the counter attack induced a bombardment on Bernabé's goal. Two reflex saves from the keeper prevented Lorca from taking the lead after good play down the right, but he could do nothing about Manu Onwu's header three minutes later, which gave the Murcia team the lead.
Bernabé continued to be kept busy due to Lorca's domination, but after saving three efforts in the same attack, he was eventually beaten again, this time from a Rojas header as Lorca doubled their lead with more than twenty minutes remaining.
That was enough time for Kike Márquez to halve the deficit from a free-kick, and substitute Ze Turbo also had a chance to equalise, but Lorca demonstrated why they were the league leaders with an extremely strong defensive performance in the last few minutes to hold out, which created a two-point gap over second-place Cartagena.